Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions
It is not thanksgiving, and yet it is the time of year I am the most thankful for family, for friends, for health, for the safety, warmth and comfort of my home. I will not wade into the debate about Christ in Christmas or the modern debacle of rampant consumerism. I have instead chosen to embrace the muddle. A blending and melding of traditions, celebrations and faith.
I love the story of the nativity. It is symbolic for me on so many levels, it is about family, and love, and giving to those less fortunate. It is about being thankful for what you have and celebrating life. While candidates for virgin birth include Osiris, Mithras, Dionysus, and Krishna, it is Mary and Joseph that have found their way into the songs I sing to Chicken Little and the traditions of our home.
Watercolour on Cotton Rag Paper
I also enjoy the more heathen rituals of winter solstice, of feasting with family and friends and the dragging in of a tree into ones home and festooning it with lights and ornaments, not to mention the pagan practice of adorning houses with lamps and wreathes of laurel and evergreen. This all blends quite nicely with the Persian winter celebration of Yelda and the shared feasting, reading of poems out loud, telling of stories, dancing, and the serving of fruit in the form of pomegranates, nuts, and dried fruit. The red of the fruits, symbolizing the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life, in several cultures and for those celebrating the splendour of Mithra (a deity once popular with Roman Legionaries). These traditions are further evocative of other ancient mid-winter customs invoking various deities to request protection of the winter crop.
©RiverWalker Arts 2009
Pen and Ink on Paper.
Living in 21st century North America I also get to luxuriate in the more modern fantasy about Santa (a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, commercial idol, not to mention really great marketing by Coca-Cola.) and how this benevolent man spends his time crafting toys for all the little boys and girls the world over. Maybe I love the story of Santa so much because I wish it could be true that all over the world children could wake up to a little something special just for them, no matter what country, no matter how poor, or how disadvantaged.
My heart is thankful, my door is open, my glass is raised, and I toast to families everywhere, to your health and mine, to the virtues of love, peace, joy and giving.
May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
Merry Chirstmas to all.
In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' ~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"